We implement the goals and values of the writing across the curriculum (WAC) movement at NIU. The WAC movement promotes the development of writing skills across a range of subject areas. By using writing to explore and solve problems in various courses, students learn class material while becoming better writers.
One way WAC is realized at NIU is through writing-infused courses. Undergraduate students take these courses as part of their graduation requirements. Courses are available the Colleges of Business, Education, Engineering and Engineering Technology, Health and Human Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Visual and Performing Arts.
We work with faculty members to design writing-infused courses and incorporate writing into existing courses. We also hold writing workshops and partner with departments to develop and assess writing-focused programs. Our work outside of NIU includes outreach to other schools and institutions.
WAC philosophy is expressed in the following premises:
- Writing is a complex activity, and writing problems are numerous and varied.
- Writing is a process as well as a product.
- Writing is a learning activity as well as a communications activity.
- Writing helps students learn the content of a field.
- Writing helps students learn the communication patterns within a discourse community.
- Students learn to write well by writing in localized contexts and by receiving responses from writers within those contexts.
The following premises of writing in the disciplines also inform WAC philosophy:
- Writing requires practice.
- Writing expectations and performances are discipline specific.
- Much of what an accomplished writer knows about writing remains tacit.
- Students acquire tacit knowledge through writing in their majors.